Why I Did Not Apply For Jobs Online After Graduate School

A friend recently asked me whether he should apply to jobs online after his degree. He was completing his graduate degree in the UK and hoped to find a job that fits his skills.

I shared my thoughts with him and will do likewise with you.

After my graduate degree in 2016, I sent many online applications to multiple employers in hopes of getting in. The magic did not happen.


I was competing with the world.

You see, any job ad that gets posted online is visible to the world. It’s on the web and visible to anyone with internet access. Your grandma could see it and apply if she wanted.

Take for example, I see a job ad online for a Finance Officer, and I was interested. Essentially, I’d be competing with the following categories of people:

  1. Individuals who are currently employed and want to change jobs for the sake of it.
  2. Those currently employed who wish to change jobs because they want a new challenge.
  3. Experienced individuals who recently lost their jobs – thanks to COVID, layoffs, etc.
  4. Those wishing to apply because they want more money
  5. Internal candidates already working at that company wishing to step up.
  6. Internal candidates wanting to bring their friends into their company.
  7. Individuals with permanent visas or citizenships (if it’s not your home country).
  8. Your classmates or colleagues that recently graduated from your class

The list goes on.

Have you seen why I never heard back from any of the jobs?

I was fighting the world.

Don’t get me wrong. I believe in miracles. They still happen. But when you have limited time and resources, you put your time and energy into where your odds are higher. It’s smarter.

Clearly, I was an underdog. I was an international student on a temporary visa with limited local experience. There was nothing special that would make employers come chase after me.

Here’s what I did instead:

  1. I followed small companies (0-70 employees) I was interested in and connected with staff heading my preferred roles.
  2. I contacted professionals working in roles in companies I liked via LinkedIn
  3. I let friends and mentors know I was looking for jobs. They also let their friends know.
  4. I attended small networking events.
  5. I developed and brushed up my online profiles.

Once I did this, I started gaining traction, which finally led to job offers.

Of course, some exception occurs. Your odds are higher if applying online for positions with mass recruitment exercises – think of those consulting firms having annual recruitment events where they hire many graduates. Your odds are also higher if living in locations where skilled workers are scarce.

The good news is that you only need to do this at the initial stages of your career. I no longer have this challenge.

These days, I go right in and apply online. Why? I have solid work experience that will catch the eye of any employer.

Once you have amassed enough work experience, you can return to applying online. At this time, you will be more competitive.

Why all these stories?

If you are an underdog in a similar situation as I was and struggling to land a job, consider other strategies.

I wish you the best.